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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Absolutely Stellar!

Three of the four Stellar Kart boys after the show - Cody, Jordan and Adam (who happens to be eating a very HEALTHY apple). Posted by Hello

Eat, Sleep, Drive & Eat Some More

It seems like I am eating all time on this tour. Maybe because I'm not doing much of anything else, other than sleeping and driving. And even when I'm driving, I'm eating! Because I'm lactose intolerant it is tricky finding non-dairy food on the road. Fortunately most food labels in the States highlight certain ingredients like milk, wheat and eggs - foods that some people have a hard time stomaching.

When I was at the Walmart Super Center the other night (at 3AM) I decided to look for a "snack" without milk in it. I found some Walmart Brand Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that boasted "no sugar added" so I looked at the ingredients label to find out what was in them. No dairy, and "Sorbitol" and "Maltitol" instead of sugar. I have seen "Sorbitol" on labels before, in fact, I try to find chewing gum with this sweetener in it because I don't like eating "Aspartame" - (heard it was bad for you).

The label also had a disclaimer that said, "Maltitol and Sorbitol are Polyhydric Alcohols that metabolize slower than sugar. Excess consumption can cause stomach discomfort." Ahhh, how bad could it be? I chew gum with Sorbitol in it all the time? YIKES! Stomach discomfort is putting it mildly! I ate two cookies (while I was driving) and the rumblings began about an hour later. The "stomach discomfort" latest for HOURS and then... explosions took place! Ba-boom!

I decided to do some research when I got to my hotel. I found out that "studies over the past fifteen years have proven that Sorbitol can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, ranging from mild discomfort to severe diarrhea!" This from a consumer group that is attempting to get the Food and Drug Administration (in the U.S.) to require a "diarrhea" notice on foods that contain sorbitol - [http://www.cspinet.org/new/sorbitol_pr.html]!

Needless to say I trashed the rest of the yummy Walmart cookies. And would suggest that all of my friends - in fact, everyone in the world - stay away from food containing Sorbital! (Especially if you happen to be driving a truck across the United States.)

:-)

Well... I better go... time to eat!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Production Crew

Emmanuel [Lights], Hans [House Sound] & Bob [On Stage Sound] Posted by Hello

Zzzzzzzz

Boy, I am sleepy today! I only had to drive 5 hours last night but I'm trying to stay awake until noon. That's because our "load-in" time at the next venue is not until noon tomorrow. Every night after the concert we get a "hot sheet" - this contains all the information we need pertaining to the next city, venue, hotel, promoter, etc. It provides the scheduled times for load-in, sound checks, meet and greets, concert start time, etc. Load-in is the time that the production equipment (lights, sound, etc.) gets UNloaded from my truck by a volunteer crew that meets me at the venue. My job is to simply drop the truck off at the venue at the scheduled load-in time.

Tomorrow the load-in time is later than usual. Most crews me meet around 9:30AM, which is great, because I can usually be "run" to the hotel and be in bed by 10AM! The crew tomorrow can't come to "work" until noon because they have church in the morning! So... I am trying to push my sleeping schedule up a bit so I can arrive later.

The production team - the people who actually run the equipment - supervise the volunteer crews. They start by praying with the crew each day, set-up the lights and sound, perform sound checks, do the show, tear it all down, load the truck, thank the crew, pray with them again, go to the hotel for showers and then try to get some sleep on the tour bus before they wake up in a next city and have to do it all over again!

Whew! Thank goodness I'm just a DRIVER!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Barlow Girl After Their Set

Rebecca, Alyssa and Lauren Barlow - http://www.barlowgirl.com - if you haven't heard their song "Never Alone" click on the "ear buds" and check it out! Great tune!
Posted by Hello

Strong Tower Tour

Well, I finally made it out to one of the shows. When I arrived I didn't have any "ID" to get back stage. Everyone on the tour has a tag that identifies them as part of the crew. Because I hadn't been to a show yet I was tag-less. To top it off, I had to get the truck key from Bob (the guy I'm working for) so I could drop off my luggage - and HE was already running sound for the opening act - Stellar Kart!

Thankfully one of the guys doing security "trusted" that I was who I said I was - the production truck drive - and let me in. (Although he stayed with me until I actually had the truck key in my hand!) Bob told me he would come to the "green room" once Stellar Kart was finished to give me my ID. Unfortunatley, Darren (Kutless' manager) thought a different guy was driving the truck on this tour, so they didn't have a tag with my name on it. So instead I got one of the "extra" IDs with the name "Vanilla Ice" on it. Sheesh.

For the rest of the evening I was introducing myself to the members of the cast and crew... and some of the band members were like, "I knew someone was driving the truck, I just didn't know WHO! Nice to meet you!"

Just for the record, I got autgraphs from ALL of the band members for my roomie back at home - since he was emailing me EVERY SINGLE DAY to remind me! I even took pics of them signing the CDs as proof! :-)

Side note: I'm in Lake Jackson, Texas - southwest of Houston. Lake Jackson is having a "cold spell" - between 45F and 60F. Scott, my "runner" today, told me that they had snow for the FIRST TIME EVER on Christmas Day this past year! They got 8 inches! He said the snow shut down the city and the people of Lake Jackson stayed up until 3AM playing in the snow!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Don't Mess With RYAN!!

The first night I met Ryan (Kutless guitarist) he was on the tour bus listening to a recorded version of the show they had just performed. He said he was his worst critic and I asked if I could get a pic of his "critical" face. Not the most FLATTERING pic of Ryan, but fun nonetheless! Posted by Hello

Don't Mess With Texas

I'm spending my days off in a suburb of Dallas called Mesquite. In a few hours I will move to yet another Dallas suburb called Carrolton. The Strong Tower Tour is perfoming at North Church in Carrolton tonight and I am planning to go the show (for the first time). Should be fun. I will finally meet Barlow Girl and get autographs from all the bands for my roomie back at home.

It's 2:30AM and I have already had "lunch" at the Waffle House and done some shopping/browsing at the Super Walmart. When I woke up tonight I was very confused - thinking that it was 7AM! While I was chatting with friends from home on MSN I kept thinking that they were all getting ready to go to work/school, when, in fact, it was their BEDTIME! Very weird.

I think my schedule is officially switched but my body doesn't like staying up at night. And it is even worse when I have to find something to do all night. By 4AM my body feels like it's spinning. I was warned that I might feel like this. On regular days I am in the truck driving to the next tour city and it doesn't seem to bother me as much. I am already looking forward to going back to a NORMAL schedule when I come home!

Did you know that the slogan "Don't Mess With Texas" came from a public education campaign against littering? Littering is a $500 fine in Texas and apparently they go hard after litterers. You can even "Report a Litterer" - [ http://www.dontmesswithtexas.org/]!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Thank goodness for Waffle House! [http://www.wafflehouse.com/] Open all night PLUS free sweet tea refills! Ahhh... sweet tea... one of my favorite reasons for visiting the south! That, and Walmart Superstores! ;-) Posted by Hello

How... dy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
"Welcome to Texas, now go home." I remember hearing that they sold t-shirts in Texas with that slogan on it. So far, there is nothing to give me reason to believe that Texans are like that. In fact, the lady who checked me in at my hotel was REAL nice. But I couldn't understand her accent! I thought she said, "if you need a wicket toll, give me a call". [She actually said... if you need a WAKE UP CALL!]

It's 73F today and we are supposed to get some rain. Don't matter much to me, since I will be hanging out in my hotel room. No driving tonight. I have a couple of days off here in Dallas. The tour picks up again on Thursday with a show in Carrolton, a Dallas suburb.

I am hoping to find some late night food! That is one of the challenges of days off. When you are driving you can always get food at a truck stop, but in a city it's different. [Unless, of course, you can find a Denny's!] I did spot a Waffle House across the street, so... I think they are open 24/7.

Plus, I need to find an Old Navy! This is Dallas... they must have MANY! :-) [Stay tuned...]


Bubba? Nah... just Emmanuel eating pizza on the tour bus after the show. "E" runs all the lights on the Strong Tower Tour. The crew and band members like to chow down on pizza and wings after each show, just before going back to the hotel for showers. Posted by Hello

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

Monday, February 21, 2005
I knew I was in Mississippi as soon as the "Rick and Bubba Show" came on the radio this morning. Bubba. It is a very funny name to say! My "runner's" name is Bubba too. I asked him if it was his real name and he said it was on his birth certificate. I told him that, as far I as knew, Canada didn't have any "Bubbas".

Speaking of Canada... I heard it snowed @ home today - big time. Did I tell you that I finally transitioned to shorts? And BOY is it humid here in southern Mississippi! I know it's winter, even here in the south, but the humidity was so unexpected. My hair doesn't respond well to humidity. You should see my "humidity perm"! Very curly...

Had my first bad hotel experience today. Got into the room and it smelled like cat urine. Yuck. They let me change my room, but this hotel - I mean, motel - is not the nicest place. Apparently Monday night shows can be less "fancy". Promoters are afraid they won't get big crowds so they book cheap hotels. Yup. Booked one. And I'm staying in it.

My second room is okay. It will do. I'm not really that picky, but sometimes bad hotel rooms can really gross me out. I've been in worse situations and so far all of our hotels have been REALLY nice. We're going to Dallas tomorrow and I'm banking on some good accommodations.

The bus is going to be late today - blew out a couple of tires. Interestingly enough no one sleeping on the bus even knew! I called the bus driver this morning and he told me that he was waiting for two new rims and tires. Seems these drivers get used to this kind of stuff. My truck? It's working just great - and it WILL work just fine for the entire trip - in Jesus name, thank you very much!


On The Road Again Posted by Hello

Sweet Home Alabama

Sunday, February 20, 2005
Madison, Alabama, that is. I arrived here around 9:30AM, but I couldn't get to the hotel (to sleep) until almost 1PM. The venue for the concert is a church and they were smack dab in the middle of their morning services. The way it works, I drive the truck to the venue and a "runner" takes me back to the hotel. I had to wait until the service was done to get a runner.

So, I went to church this morning... completely exhausted and fearing that I would pass out, but I attended nonetheless! Asbury United Methodist Church [http://www.asburyumc.ws/]. This is where the concert was tonight. I didn't make it to the concert though because of my late "morning". I'll get to one eventually - I hope!

Asbury has FOUR, yes 4, morning services. Two traditional and two contemporary. (I bet you'll never guess which one I went to?!) They sang all the same songs that we sing at my church back home [http://www.freedomhouse.ca/] but it was very different. The atmosphere was VERY subdued. The worship was well done, in fact, most of it sounded "just like the record". And some people seemed like they WANTED to enter in, but for the most part people listened and watched and loved Jesus while they did. It was cool. And... we were in and out in just over an hour - and that included 4 worship songs, a sermon and 2 baptisms! And thank goodness, or I may have fallen asleep right there in my chair!

It's okay. I'm awake now. I got some sleep. :-)

p.s. I am trying to figure out how to turn off the "anonymous" option on the comments. This blog is not listed in blogger.com's member directory, so only my friends and family read it. Or at least I THINK they do. Unfortunately I have no idea WHAT friends and family are reading it because they are signing their comments anonymously! Ugh. A first name would be nice, at least! Or a nickname, special agent name or secret code. Anything but anonymous.

:-)


Big Bad Bessy Posted by Hello

Bowling Anyone?

Saturday, February 19, 2005
As I was driving this morning I experienced the "dawning" of a brand new day. I am not a "morning" person so, generally speaking, I don't get to see a lot of sunrises. If it were up to me my schedule would include staying up until 2AM and sleeping in until 11AM everyday. [No "dawns" included.]

I was driving through Louisville, Kentucky when the sun arose. I have never been to Louisville before but it looked like a very cool city. Lots of fancy baseball parks with signs promoting their "Louisville Slugger" fame.

I stopped to sleep in Bowling Green, Kentucky. To my knowledge this town isn't famous for anything. Let's see, the National Corvette Museum is here. Ummm... Western Kentucky University [http://www.wku.edu/] is here too, and the waitress at Denny's told me that something big was going on there today. Pretty exciting, huh?! :-)

It's about 11PM and I only have a few hours of driving tonight. The tour takes us to Madison, Alabama tomorrow and I am planning to catch the show for the first time on the tour. I met the guys from Kutless last night (on the tour bus, just before we left Chicago) and look forward to getting to know them better.

In the meantime, me and my 5 ton truck are becoming very close... [singing] "Keep on truckin' baby..."

Friday, February 18, 2005

In-Room Coffee Maker Posted by Hello

Morning!

Well... I did it, sort of. I slept until 5PM. (On and off, at least.) And, to my surprise, I am feeling pretty good! It is so strange, this waking up late thing. The evening news is on TV, for goodness sake! That is weird.

I am brewing my "morning" coffee as I enter this blog. AND I'm watching the Apprentice. (Okay, is it just me, or should "morning" coffee be drunk when the Apprentice in on?!)

This tour is called the Strong Tower Tour. The first show started at 7PM tonight @ Trinity Christian College [http://www.trnty.edu/]. I am not going to the venue tonight, but hope to catch a few of the shows on this trip.

The tour consists of Kutless [http://www.kutless.com/], Barlow Girl [http://www.barlowgirl.com/] and opening the show is a new band called Stellar Kart [http://www.stellarkart.com/]. I met the boys from Stellar in the lobby. They drove all the way from Phoenix in a converted "tour van". These guys are the real deal - they love to play their music and are willing to travel around in the Scooby Mobile to do so. Gotta love it.


Privacy Please Posted by Hello

Wake Me When Evening Comes

It's almost 1:30 in the morning. I am attempting to switch my day around so I can sleep when the sun is up and be awake throughout the night. As the production vehicle driver I am required to proceed to the next city on the tour while the band and crew are sleeping on the bus. I have only ever worked midnights once in my life and hated it. (Can't remember WHY I hated midnights, I just remember that I did.)

Once I arrive in the new city a "runner" takes me to the hotel and I can sleep. Sometimes the overnight runs will be a few hours, other nights I will be driving until the next morning. Either way I have to try and be "alive and awake" for the drive.

So far my body isn't liking this day/night reversal thing. I am sure there is a way to trick my body, but right now my body isn't adapting very well. Although I consider myself a night hawk - up until 2AM - I am feeling very tired right about now. And I slept-in until 2:30pm!

My goal? Stay up until at least 5 or 6AM this morning. Yeah, right. Thank goodness for the "privacy" sign I can hang on my door! (Think I'll bring it home! Maybe it will help me to sleep even longer!)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hotel Life Essentials Posted by Hello

The Windy City

First stop on my whirlwind driving trip with Kutless and the boys. Well, actually, the boys and girls (Barlow Girl is on this tour too). Attempting to switch my schedule and become nocturnal. Oh to be a hedgehog [http://hedgehogcentral.com/].

:-)

We stopped in Flint, Michigan on the way to Chicago and stayed at a Super 8. Not the nicest hotel/motel on the planet, but served it's purpose. Staying at a REALLY nice place for the next couple of days - http://www.midwayhotelcenter.com/

My life will pretty much involve driving, sleeping and all the essentials of hotel life: my computer hooked up to high speed internet; in-room coffee maker; and of course a TV remote. Here's to life on the road!